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OPINIONRonald Phillips was convicted of rape and aggravated murder of Sheila Marie Evans and sentenced to death. For the following reasons, we AFFIRM the district court's denial of Phillips's petition. At the time, Sheila's mother, Fae Evans, was dating and occasionally cohabiting with [Phillips].The Ohio courts upheld his conviction and sentence on direct review and in post-conviction proceedings. In addition to Sheila, Evans had two other children, Sara, twenty-nine months old, and Ronald, Jr., [Phillips's] infant son. on the morning of January 18, 1993, Fae Evans took Ronald, Jr.
The next morning, Perella and his supervisor, Sergeant Dye, drove to South Alternative School, where [Phillips] was enrolled as a student. The report stated that Phillips showed signs of “character deficiencies,” such as emotional immaturity, “underlying hostility and [an] inflexible approach to conflict,” “remarkably poor tolerance for stress and pressure,” “self-doubt, inferiority and feelings of incompetence,” “psychological inadequacy,” and an “extremely simplistic and immature view of the world.” However, Dr.
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Adam Michael Van Ho, Office of The Ohio Attorney General, Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellee. Sweeney, Law Office of Timothy Farrell Sweeney, Cleveland, Ohio, Ruth L.
He recalled one incident in which Sheila fell on a railroad spike which penetrated either her vagina or anus. [State v.] Calhoun, 86 Ohio St.3d [279,] 289, 714 N. He also submitted a psychological evaluation of a psychologist who was provided with more background information than Dr. The mitigation specialist concluded that the mitigation phase was not handled properly by defense counsel. Phillips failed to adduce sufficient operative facts establishing that there was a reasonable probability that, absent trial counsel's allegedly deficient performance, the sentencer would have concluded that the aggravating circumstance did not outweigh the mitigating factors beyond a reasonable doubt. Legal standard Phillips claims that his counsel were ineffective because they failed to investigate, discover, and present evidence found in the Summit County Child Services Bureau (“CSB”) records and to interview his half-siblings about the Phillips' home. We must decide “whether the investigation supporting counsel's decision not to introduce mitigating evidence of [Phillips's] background was itself reasonable.” Id. “A counsel's performance is deficient if he committed errors so serious that he was not performing at a reasonable professional level. Even if there is deficient performance, there is no constitutionally ineffective assistance of counsel unless Phillips was prejudiced by the performance. Because the state court decided this constitutional issue in cursory fashion “ ‘without extended discussion,’ “ we apply a modified form of AEDPA review. Wilson, 416 F.3d 470, 476 (6th Cir.2005) (quoting Harris v. Counsel retained the services of a former Akron police officer who, according to counsel, was the only available option with the resources available.
On another occasion, [Phillips] claimed that Sheila hurt her “vagina and stomach area” when she jumped from a dresser to a bed and struck the corner of the bed. ANALYSISThe six claims certified for appeal are: (1) whether Phillips's conviction for aggravated murder was supported by sufficient evidence; (2) whether the jury's finding that Phillips raped Sheila on the morning of her death was supported by sufficient evidence; (3) whether the jury's finding that Phillips intended to kill Sheila was supported by sufficient evidence; (4) whether members of the jury were inflamed by the statements of a grand juror; (5) whether the trial court improperly instructed the jury outside the presence of Phillips and his counsel; and (6) whether trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance during the mitigation phase. The capital litigation specialist did not address Mr. A review of the record in this case reveals that trial counsel performed an adequate investigation of Mr. Phillips as a caring, helpful, and decent person, who was a “salvageable” human being and would do well in prison. Phillips' petition subscribes to an alternative mitigation strategy, namely focusing on the dysfunction and abusive family environment and the absence of a moral and social compass for Mr. The evidence adduced with the petition supports this alternative mitigation strategy-a strategy that may actually have been less persuasive. Based on the foregoing, we cannot find that the trial court erred in determining that Mr. Significantly, on direct appeal, the Ohio Supreme Court held that the evidence presented in mitigation was not paltry, as Mr. He claims that such investigation would have revealed extensive mitigating information about his background that was important for the jury to hear and that would have allowed his psychologist to opine accurately about his psychological condition and the reasons for his crime. The burden is on the defendant to make such a showing by ‘identify[ing] the acts or omissions of counsel that are alleged not to have been the result of reasonable professional judgment.’ “ Williams v. To satisfy this prong, Phillips “must show that there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different.” Strickland, 466 U. In his efforts to acquire mitigating evidence, Edminister talked with Phillips's mother and father, at least one of his siblings and one of his half-siblings, his grandparents, neighbors, and former teachers.
He also detailed that the blows to Sheila's abdomen had resulted in severe internal trauma, including hemorrhaging in her stomach, intestine and other internal organs. Cox examined the section of Sheila's bowel that had been surgically removed, and determined that the injury to the duodenum had occurred approximately forty-eight hours prior to her death. Cox opined, Sheila would have suffered from intense abdominal pain, an inability to eat, vomiting, a high temperature, and listlessness. Ineffective assistance of counsel We turn first to whether counsel for the defendant provided adequate assistance at the penalty phase of Phillips's trial because we see this as the central issue in this appeal.1.
The beating Sheila suffered on the morning of January 18, 1993 caused the already necrotic and gangrenous duodenum to rupture. Cox concluded that Sheila died as a result of cardiovascular collapse stemming from the severe, blunt force trauma to her abdomen, and the numerous related complications. Cox also discovered during the autopsy evidence of acute anal penetration. “A state-court decision is an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law if it correctly identifies the governing legal rule but applies it unreasonably to the facts of a particular prisoner's case, or if it either unreasonably extends or unreasonably refuses to extend a legal principle from Supreme Court precedent to a new context.” Id. The AEDPA standard of review only applies to claims that were “adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings.” Hartman v. State court decisions The Ohio Supreme Court rejected this claim: Appellant contends that his counsel introduced “paltry evidence” in mitigation, and presented appellant in a manner that provided the jury with no reasonable means to recommend a sentence other than death. The defense introduced six witnesses during the mitigation hearing in addition to appellant's unsworn statement.
In total, the interview lasted approximately seven hours, during which time [Phillips] was provided with food, beverages, and several breaks. In 2003, Phillips petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus, alleging twenty-five separate grounds for relief. He never viewed CSB's other files on the Phillips family and never made any other effort to obtain access to those files or copy any of the materials.
On Wednesday, January 19, 1993, [Phillips] telephoned the Akron police station in order to speak with the detectives who were investigating Sheila's death. The district court denied his petition but granted him a certificate of appealability (“COA”) on six claims. In Edminister's and O'Brien's conversations with Phillips and his family members, none revealed a history of abuse in the Phillips household. Brown, whom counsel provided with a summary of the case and Phillips's written confession, interviewed Phillips on four occasions and performed at least two psychological tests on him. He prepared a five-page report summarizing his findings.
Sheila bruised her eye and cut her lip when she fell down a flight of stairs. Phillips also asserts claims of prosecutorial misconduct and erroneous jury instructions, but he has not obtained a COA as to these issues. Phillips' case but rather described effective methods of presenting mitigating evidence. Phillips' personal background and presented the expert testimony of a psychologist, thereby providing insight into Mr. As previously discussed, the existence of alternative or additional mitigation theories generally does not establish ineffective assistance of counsel. Phillips failed to set forth sufficient operative facts that demonstrate a substantive violation of his trial counsel's essential duties. Phillips contended, and failed to support a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. We engage in a two-part inquiry when reviewing ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims: First, the defendant must show that counsel's performance was deficient. A counsel's performance is deficient if it “fell below an objective standard of reasonableness.” Id. Strickland held that:[S]trategic choices made after thorough investigation of law and facts relevant to plausible options are virtually unchallengeable; and strategic choices made after less than complete investigation are reasonable precisely to the extent that reasonable professional judgments support the limitations on investigation. Coyle, 260 F.3d 684, 703 (6th Cir.2001) (en banc) (quoting Strickland, 466 U. at 690).“We review the decision of the last state court to reach this point, the state court of appeals [in post-conviction proceedings] for compliance with AEDPA.” See Johnson v. “[I]n judging the reasonableness of the adjudication, we look to Wiggins [ ] and Rompilla ․ because they ․ ‘applied the same clearly established precedent as Strickland.’ “ Id. Edminister obtained Phillips's school records and reviewed some CSB records relating to the Phillips family.
[Phillips] denied having ever touched Sheila or Sara in their “private areas.”At some point during the interview, [Phillips] was informed that Sheila had died. Initially, we note that hiring a mitigation specialist in a capital case is not a requirement of effective assistance of counsel. This requires showing that counsel made errors so serious that counsel was not functioning as the “counsel” guaranteed the defendant by the Sixth Amendment. In other words, counsel has a duty to make reasonable investigations or to make a reasonable decision that makes particular investigations unnecessary. Counsel has an obligation to perform a thorough investigation of the defendant's background or make a reasonable decision that such investigation is unnecessary. At the CSB office, Edminister met with the prosecutor and a CSB attorney and was given access to only five files, none of which he was permitted to copy.
Although [Phillips] was not placed under arrest, Falcone read [Phillips] his Miranda rights, which he waived. 1214 (“AEDPA”), we may grant the writ “with respect to a ‘claim that was adjudicated on the merits in state court proceedings' if the state court's decision ‘was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States.’ “ Murphy, 551 F.3d at 493 (quoting 28 U . Phillips and the environment in which he was raised and 2) neglected to request funds for a mitigation specialist, who would have gathered complete background information on Mr. He avers that, had a mitigation specialist been retained, the psychologist could have conducted a more reliable psychological evaluation of Mr. Phillips on four occasions, interviewed his parents, and administered psychological tests, testified that Mr.